Special Needs Soccer Founder Completes NSCAA Premier Certification

Dan Brotman, founder of the Port Washington Special Needs Soccer Program, recently completed the National Soccer Coaches Association Of America Premier Soccer Certification. The Premier Diploma is the NSCAA’s highest level and is only awarded to a select number of coaches annually. The Premier certification was supervised by Mike Noonan, Men’s Head Coach Clemson, David Gregson, Men’s Head Coach Embry-Riddle, and former Men’s US National Team coach, Bob Gansler.

The Premier Diploma, a week-long course designed to teach advanced methodology with full-sided soccer, is the pinnacle of the Residential Academy offerings. The course curriculum includes a thorough examination of different systems of play, including: technical and tactical implications; 11 vs. 11 topics, including coaching in the game, phase play and shadow play; advanced match analysis, nutrition; sportsmanship/ethics; and a leadership component including team management, personal development and the coach’s role in game development in his/her community.

Brotman, a huge proponent of incorporating Game Intelligence into every aspect of coaching, utilized his knowledge during the Phase Of Play and In-Game coaching assessments. “Game intelligence is critical for developing the next generation of competitive soccer players. I believe increasing a players Soccer IQ will be a major thrust of the next wave of modern youth development around the world. Developing a player’s game intelligence will provide them with a deep understanding of the nuances of soccer, so they know how to play the game, not just how to kick a ball,” reveals Dan Brotman.

The NSCAA’s Premier course was intensive. Six days of lectures, field demonstrations and on-field/off-field testing. “It was pretty much 7:00am to 10:00pm every day, and that’s not including the time needed to complete the match analysis, practice plans and other ‘homework,’ which led to a couple of late nights. But as they say: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

As part of the course, Brotman was tasked to complete a match analysis of a Colorado Rapids MLS game, which he and the other candidates attended, and develop a practice plan to address deficits noted during the contest. The lack of quality crossing service and poor combination play in the final third were cited in Brotman’s account and utilized for the practice plans.

The course offered the chance for the candidates to interface directly with the Staff Coaches during the week, both on the field and socially. Brotman took the opportunity to ask each Staff Coach what they look for when recruiting players and to his surprise he got widely different answers from each. “Speed was the only common denominator, but not just raw, athletic speed, several of the coaches targeted Speed Of Play, meaning how fast a player makes decisions on the field and the quality of those decisions,” Brotman recalls.

Dan Brotman found the course to be quite valuable and will be incorporating many of the things he learned into his special needs soccer program, as well as in the role of VP, Competition for the Port Washington Soccer Club. “In order to be a good coach, you have to look at yourself as an educator. Being a quality teach, albeit one in short pants, is a skill that can be acquired by taking coaching courses and reading as much as you can about the game and developing youth players.”